The year is 2065 A.D., and from all over the world, the most talented and dangerous warriors gather in Mexico in order to test their skills in the most grand expression of "El Lucha Libre(Mexican wrestling);" the Chaak.

That's the premise of this action-packed series from Dark Horse comics. Unfortunately, action, and lots of it, is all Battlegods has going for it.

Battlegods is written by Francisco Ruiz Velasco, who obviously possesses a passion for ancient Mayan culture and Mexican wrestling, as they appear to be his sole inspiration for this series. His influences are not the problem, however. The problem is characterization; there is too much, and none of it is done very well.

From issue one, Velasco stuffs and crams characters into his story, depending mostly on "fighter profiles" in the back of the books to inform the reader on their various pasts and significance. Perhaps if these numerous, brand-new characters were struggling to overcome some profound evil, or there was some serious personal development being witnessed through internal struggles, their proliferation would be much more tolerable. But, no, they are simply on their way to compete in a glorified wrestling match, albeit one in which various weapons, and even magic, are not against the rules.

Velasco also handles the art chores, and many of his character designs are quite striking. His style, however, though replete with clean lines and nice use of textures, lends nothing new to the already-overused Manga style.

Arguably, the most important, and lacking, quality in comics today is good characterization. The number of characters in Battlegods should be trimmed down, or special emphasis placed on a precious few. Since it is a limited series, however, this is not likely to happen. Action will continue to be the main draw, until the book ends, not with a shout, but with a barely-audible whisper.

Battlegods can be obtained through comic shops, or by logging on to

Review by Mark Allen

Battlegods is published by Dark Horse Comics, 32 pages in length, and priced at $2.95.

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